One of the things I try and do daily is get out of the house around lunchtime for some exercise. As a writer it’s too easy to end up hunched over the computer for hours. A brisk lunchtime walk clears the mental cobwebs.
A while back I came home to see a real estate agent’s car parked nearby. He was hard to miss; the guy’s name, employer and phone number was painted down the side. I have no time for such people. They’re shallow, glitzy, slick, slimy, and profoundly self-interested. Dealing with them a handful of times over the years has been more than enough for a lifetime. (There was the time I was trying to sell a house and the agent wanted to attract buyers by bringing in a bagpiper. A bagiper.)
Seconds after I closed the front door somebody began hammering. Guess who. He’d been waiting in the street outside, saw me arrive, and followed me on to my property, stalker-fashion – silently, without calling out or announcing himself.
Why had he singled out my house? There was a skip on the berm, which caused him to conclude the house was being cleared for sale. I told him the place wasn’t. Did he go away? Noooo. He sat in his car for the next twenty five minutes.
I rang the company CEO and got through. It turned out I was wrong to object to strangers casing my home and following me on to my own property. Apparently it’s normal and I just have to accept it. Well, quite. What’s that word, ‘private property’ again? Apparently my house isn’t my house: it’s a commodity that the agent has a right to sell. I told the CEO that I found the behaviour objectionable, and I’m entitled to my opinion, whether he respects me or not.
Three days later that same agent turned up outside my house again and sat in his car for half an hour. Just sat there. Hmmnn.
The disturbing part is that while their sales techniques are those of pyramid marketers and spammers, real estate agents are dealing with high-value capital items everybody wants, and into which the purchaser has to pour a very large part of their total lifetime’s earnings. Now, as far as I am concerned, that last context should provoke a due sense of solemn responsibility, gravitas and care.
But it doesn’t. Real estate agents are like commercial radio – slick, shallow, vapid, with slimy sales talk buoyed by a sense of entitlement; and if you object, it’s you who are wrong. They run to the edge of the law and, as far as I am concerned, past the edge of morality.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2021